UCI introduces sexual assault forensic exam site

UC Irvine recently opened a site on campus for students to receive sexual assault forensic exams, in contrast with the national lack of access to rape test kits on college campuses, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The only room of its kind at any college campus in California, the private space is “trauma informed” and offers amenities like a shower and new clothing, according to UCI’s Campus Assault Resources and Education office Director Eli Pascal. 

​​“It’s been designed with the idea that if I were experiencing one of the worst things that could happen in my life, and I walked through this space, what do I want to see and how do I want to feel?” Pascal told the Los Angeles Times.

According to Pascal, the implementation of the site required years of planning, numerous conversations with local health experts and a $350,000 grant.

The average distance to receive a sexual assault exam for University of California students is 12 miles, according to an analysis by social justice group GENup.

Before the site was created, one UCI student declined to travel 19 miles off campus to Anaheim for a forensic exam. 

“It really hit me hard,” Pascal said. “What if we had just been open? Would this student had been OK to come back to campus and let us take care of her there?”

UC Davis study finds coal trains contribute significant pollution

Researchers at UC Davis’ Air Quality Research Center conducted a study quantifying the pollution from coal trains that run through Richmond, California, The California Aggie reported.

The goal of the study was to analyze whether Richmond’s coal trains are a significant source of PM2.5 — particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter.

“Exposure to PM2.5 has been linked to premature mortality, cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and respiratory diseases, other chronic diseases, adverse birth outcomes, and cognitive and developmental impairments,” the study read.

To record air quality measures, researchers set up a camera alongside a weather station and an air quality sensor. Programmed with artificial intelligence, the camera detected trains passing by, which triggered the sensor to record air quality measurements, according to the Aggie.

According to Air Quality Research Center researcher and lead author of the study Bart Ostro, the results were significant when looking at PM2.5 emissions from coal trains compared to freight trains.

“We did find, not surprisingly, increases in PM2.5 [from coal trains passing through] that were greater than the increases that occur from freight trains [passing through],” Ostro told the Aggie. “With calm winds, we saw very large increases relative to freight trains. It’s pretty convincing.” 

A version of this article appeared on p. 2 of the May 25, 2023, print edition of the Daily Nexus.


Alex Levin
Alex Levin (he/him) is the University News Editor for the 2023-24 school year. Previously, Levin was the Assistant News Editor for the 2022-2023 school year. He can be reached at alexlevin@dailynexus.com.